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I want to work for an awesome employer

I used to work for an Awesome Software Employer (ASE), the kind that was a engineer's dream: successful product, excellent coworkers (smart and gets things done), lots of tough problems to solve, high degree of autonomy, excellent benefits, free snacks/drinks, onsite gym, etc. I was happy in my work and productive as hell, I lived an excellent lifestyle; if I didn't feel like working that day, I'd just call in as "unmotivated" and my manager wouldn't flinch. With that sort of flexibilty, it made my home life that much better. It really was awesome.

All was good until IBM took us over several years ago, then our ASE and culture became just another IBM building with IBM employees and IBM policies. Since this was just before the bubble burst, a mass talent exodus occured, I finally got fed up and left in 2002. My new job also sucks (we are a VC funded startup).

I want to get back to that type of ASE work culture. I know of a handful of employers that have similar environments: Google, Microsoft Software Division, Fogcreek (according to Joel). I don't really care so much about the perks like free snacks, the most important thing is the work environment and people.

Does anyone know of any Awesome Software Employers or resources for finding them?

My coworkers read this site
Monday, April 19, 2004

Hm, i had heard bad things about Google.

son of parnas
Monday, April 19, 2004

You need to make the environment yourself. Start a business and make all of your dreams come true.

Anon-y-mous Cow-ard
Monday, April 19, 2004

"Start a business and make all of your dreams come true. "

I did that once, but I really hated my boss. I understand the sentiment of solving employment problems by becoming your own boss, however you must have the right personality if you are going to happy. And being happy for me means working on tough technical problems.

Plus, I'm an excellent engineer, and any time I spend at work doing non-engineering tasks (working on payroll, billing clients, doing taxes, etc) is time not spent doing what I'm best at.

My coworkers read this site
Monday, April 19, 2004

Microsoft Consulting services

Monday, April 19, 2004

Really this is too funny. Do you ever see an employer seek just an average joe? Nope, everyone looks for a rocket scientist who will work for whatever they pay, and oh, he shouldn't mind answering the phone when the receptionists are busy.

I'm reading the moving fuji book so I'm not as enamored of IQ's as I once might have been.  But it would be something quite funny for an employer to put in an ad "all our employees have IQ's above 120" or something horrendously funny like that.  It's too bad that their HR people always seem to have an IQ of 20.

Of course the OP is probably working in my neighboring cubicle. I've only worked with 2 people I thought were stupid (says too much about me I guess) and I have to admit that I simply could not and would not work with them.  At one job I actually quit as the person was the project manager.  My employers thought I was smart but  then they thought this person was smart :) too.

Personally, most of the people I've met who actually do write programs (as the other dumb person I met just wanted to do that) appear (except for those true geniuses for which collaboration is futile) quite capable to follow a good leader.  Were I an employer I'd hire a programmer/developer who was smart but not too smart and then I'd hire a bunch of other programmers/developers who were just average.  But heck .... everyone has to be a Tim Duncan or Michael Jordan, don't they?

Monday, April 19, 2004

I wanna ride the pony!

Monday, April 19, 2004

Well, I wanna f*ck a supermodel, but that aint gonna happen either, dude.

A Cynical Realist
Monday, April 19, 2004

son of parnas,
What bad things have you heard about Google?

Monday, April 19, 2004

This question comes up here from time to time and seems to have been more frequent lately.  There are a few companies mentioned such as MS, SAS, ... but no one really has much else to offer.  Some poster will say that their current employer is rather good, but won't tell us who it is.

My experience is similar to the OP.  Not really an ASE, but a distinctly better than average employer.  I did occasionally look for an ASE, but found most places were lots worse than what I had.

Then came the expanding bubble and a takeover.  The owners got rich and we muddled along for a while.  Then another takeover by a company that wanted to absorb us in to their culture.  We started becoming just another software company and people started leaving.

I am such a technical nerd person that I would rather work for some company and let them take care of all the bureaucratic stuff and I'd just build software.  But not many companies have any real interest in being an ASE.  I have just about gotten to the point of accepting the idea that I'll have to be an independent consultant.

Technically I am an independent consultant, but work full time at the customer's site, so it is almost like being an employee.  Nevertheless, I have been finding people who are in business for themselves and hope to learn enough so that when this contract runs out I may be able to pick up more truly independent work.

In a year or so I'll know if I can do it.  There is a lot of the unpleasant stuff to do (sales, accounting, etc.) but it is also possible to do really interesting work.  It may also be a way to avoid the age discrimination problem.

Monday, April 19, 2004

IMHO if you've worked for an ASE, be happy and savor the experience. Most of us never will.....

Monday, April 19, 2004

I wonder what the ASE was.
Since you are no longer there, there is no harm in revealing that, is there?

Atria, Pure, someone else?

Employed Russian
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

You might cast a wider net by looking for an ASG (Awesome Software Group) rather than an ASE.

For example, I knew one guy who worked in a small group at Intel and loved it.  Intel isn't a "software employer", but since he was on a team that supported pentium design he could pretty stick to SW development and not worry about a whole bunch of other stuff.

Likewise, I worked with a guy who left our company to work for Xerox's printer division and loves it.  He concentrates on the engineering side of things and doesn't have to do all of the other non-technical stuff he had to when worked where I did.

So my point is, don't limit yourself to looking for the perfect company.  There aren't many.  Instead network around and find groups that operate almost autonomously within larger companies.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

What would be the harm in putting together a list of companies like this?  Maybe to quantify it, list software companies (we are talking about software here, right?) that follow the basic tenets of Peopleware.

I've certainly never worked somewhere like that, but I would be interested to know if any companies around here qualify.  Maybe SAS, as someone else mentioned.

David (
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

An awesome company?  Hell, I'd settle for a competent company!

a non a mouse cow herd
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

You worked for Rational right? There are lots of great, growing companies in the valley. Probably the two best software firms are VMware and Google:

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

>>You worked for Rational right?

I was guessing Rational too.  Of course they also had developers in Beaverton, OR.  Come to think of, another Beaverton outfit taken over by IBM was Sequent.  I knew a lot of people that loved Sequent.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

More likely Sequent than Rational.  The Rational buyout was only in the last year, not several years ago like the original poster mentioned.

Chris Kessel
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I would bet he worked at OTC.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - the careers website - the blog of a couple of our recruiters (their IQs are *distinctly* above 20 ;-) )

In all seriousness, though, Microsoft really is an awesome company to work for. The hours are long, admittedly, but the pay is good, the people are phenomenally passionate, and you get to work on really cool projects. good luck!

a friendly neighborhood microsoft program manager
Saturday, April 24, 2004

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